Ordination anniversary

Sacriston boys & Durham students, Tayvallich '66

Today, the 40th anniversary of my ordination as deacon to St Pauls, Elswick in Newcastle cathedral, the 4th Sunday of Advent, 1970.  Before that six years in Durham, working out a call to ordination, while sharing with other students a concern for youth well-being, shalom/salaam, in nearby mining villages; as well as obtaining a degree (just) and ordination qualification.  Before that, experience as a student teacher, seeing the Holy Spirit of God at work with New Testament power, at Gindiri nr Jos, Nigeria.

Bidborough, nr Tonbridge, Kent where I grew up was my first ‘church’, Gindiri no. 2, Durham’s urban hinterland no.3.  Then after ordination, Newcastle no. 4, Newbottle and Sunderland no. 5.  3,4 and 5 came together with Mission:England in the North-East – towards the end of my long entry for June 15th there is more about that.  Then no. 6, a brief foray into Arabia, with 1,000k. long Oman as my parish.  All prior to coming to Morden 21 years ago, my 7th church.

Eight months after ordination, Hilary and I were married;  as the years pass, seven children with the three Hicksons joining us;  with five now married with in-laws and nine grandchildren, that gives two football teams plus a referee.  ‘Bringing many sons to glory…’ (Hebrews 2) refers primarily to the spiritual children that Jesus calls, through the Holy Spirit.  They were principally in mind at my ordination, but the immediate family are an amazing bonus!

During the last few days, time with open youth club members (behaving badly), last night a great group of young people leading a carol service.  The photo of a camp in 1966 at Tayvallich, Argyll reminds me of one group still prayed for sometimes.  It is great to still be working with one or two ‘youth’ from Bidborough days.

My licence, renewed last year, lasts to 2015.  Either as Morden’s Rector, or drawing a pension, there is still energy left to play my part in the new emerging church that, before ordination, God promised I would be part of.  For both urban and Muslim world: “Come Lord Jesus, Maranatha“.

Muslims expect Jesus to return as judge at the end of this age – could an Ahmadiyya let me know if this is their expectation as well?  The motto of the Reformed Church in America mission in the Arabian Gulf is mine also, echoing Abraham’s prayer: “O that Ishmael might live before thee.”